'It is our own failures which have led to this loadshedding' - Blade Nzimande
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande has blamed government’s policy direction for the failure of state-owned enterprises such as Eskom and South African Airways.
Speaking at the SACP special national congress held in Kempton Park, Nzimande said the origin of some of the problems within SOEs started during the implementation of Gear (Growth, Employment and Redistribution) policy, championed by former president Thabo Mbeki.
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“Gear never benefitted the working class, that is why we spoke of jobless growth,” Nzimande said.
Nzimande told the SACP delegates in his political report that ideas to privatise some of the state-owned entities began during the beginning of democracy and had a negative impact on how these companies functioned.
“In the early 2000 we were told that Eskom power stations must be maintained, must be renewed and we must also build extra generation capacity. We did not do that because we wanted to privatise. Today, we are sitting in the middle of load shedding. There is nothing magical. It does not come from the top. It is our own failures which have led to this load shedding. We tried to prescribe to them and said they should focus on their core business,” he said.
Government is faced with a serious crisis at Eskom and SAA. Currently, the country is in the dark as Eskom is implementing stage 4 loadshedding due to a number of units being down and flooding at some of its power stations.
The loss of power comes at a time when the economy is struggling to grow and having no power only exacerbates the situation.
In an article published in the Sunday Times public enterprise minister Pravin Gordhan said the airline cannot count on receiving bailouts from the state coffers.
The national carrier will need to slash costs and boost revenue because the government is no longer able to provide “continuous bailouts,” Gordhan wrote.
He described the state carrier as “a patient experiencing multiple organ failure,”.
The airline last made a profit in 2011 and has received R57bln in bailouts since 1994.
Nzimande said keeping companies in the hands of the state should have a strategic focus in order to prevent the collapse which has been seen over the past few years.
“If we say state-owned enterprises must remain in the hands of the state, we have to be clear of what needs to be done. We should not be satisfied that they are in the hands of the state,” he said.